Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to surprise: Surprise party
catch (someone) by surprise
To startle, amaze, or come upon (someone) unawares. That car coming around the corner caught me by surprise. She was caught completely by surprise with the amount of donations she received. Don't let hidden bank fees catch you by surprise.
be in for a surprise
To be guaranteed to receive or experience an unexpected outcome, especially a negative one. If you think being a parent is easy, then you're in for a surprise!
Said ironically of or in a situation in which something very predictable has happened. A: "I somehow managed to break yet another phone!" B: "Surprise, surprise! How many does that make it this year?" I was telling Sarah about going to the movies with my friend Jess, and surprise, surprise, she launched into another fit of jealousy.
be taken by surprise
To be happened upon when one is not ready, prepared, or on guard; to be shocked or startled by someone or something. I was taken completely by surprise when you showed up at my office this afternoon for lunch. I wish you would have called ahead! The enemy encampment was taken by surprise when our troops descended upon them just before daybreak.
element of surprise
A method of stealth or secrecy employed to catch someone off-guard. I'll get mom to let me stay out till midnight, but I can't ask her now, when she's expecting it—I need the element of surprise. The fish camouflages itself and disappears onto the ocean floor, relying on the element of surprise to catch its prey.
A French phrase that means "what a surprise." Often said sarcastically. A: "Ruth isn't coming tonight? Quelle surprise." B: "I know, she's ditched us at the last minute once again."
come as no surprise
To be completely unsurprising. Considering how much they had been fighting lately, their break-up came as no surprise. If you didn't study for that test at all, your failing grade should come as no surprise.
take (one) by surprise
To encounter or otherwise engage something or someone who is not prepared or on guard; to shock or startle someone or something by one's sudden appearance or action. You took me by surprise when you showed up at my office with flowers this afternoon! Our soldiers descended upon the enemy encampment just before daybreak and took their troops entirely by surprise.
in (some kind of) fashion
In a certain manner or kind of way (of doing something). Last week, in a rather surprising fashion, the usually conservative tech company announced it would be opening up its source code to allow aspiring programmers to rework their popular web browser in new and innovative ways. The team won the championship in dramatic fashion, with a field goal from midfield in the final seconds of the game.
come as no surprise
will not be surprising [for someone] to learn [something]. It will come as no surprise for you to learn that the company is losing money this year. It came as no surprise that the president had been lying.
I'm not surprised.and I don't wonder.
It is not surprising.; It should not surprise anyone. Mary: All this talk about war has my cousin very worried. Sue: No doubt. At his age, I don't wonder. John: All of the better-looking ones sold out right away. Jane: I'm not surprised.
surprise someone by something
to astonish someone by doing or being something. You surprised me by your forthrightness. No one was surprised by the way it happened.
surprise someone with something
to astonish someone by presenting or showing something. I surprised her with a bouquet of roses. He surprised Roger with a new car.
take someone by surpriseand catch someone by surprise
to startle someone; to surprise someone with something unexpected. Oh! You took me by surprise because I didn't hear you come in. Bill caught his mother by surprise by coming to the door and pretending to be selling something.
take someone or something by surprise
to startle or surprise someone or something. She bolted into the room and took them by surprise. I took the little bird by surprise, and it flew away.
take by surprise
Encounter unexpectedly, as in The rainshower took us by surprise. [Late 1600s]